NBA Playoffs Mavericks vs Clippers Game 1 Betting Preview

Dallas Draws the Road Favorite Tag for Series Opener

Los Angeles went on a hot stretch at the end of March which helped them earn home court advantage in the first round, but it looks like that doesn’t even matter as LAC is a -3 point underdog in the Mavericks vs Clippers Game 1 betting matchup. Much of that points spread has to do with the uncertainty surrounding Kawhi Leonard (knee), but L.A. has gotten used to playing without him at this point.

Dallas should be well rested after sitting out most of their starters in the regular season finale which has given them essentially 9 days off. The Mavericks have a lengthy injury report too, but most of them are the bumps and bruises you get at the end of a long season and the team should be at full strength.

Why the Mavericks Have Value at -3

The Clippers have gotten plenty used to playing without Leonard, but his 23.7 ppg is still better on the court than on the bench. Plus just because L.A. has played without Leonard doesn’t mean they’ve succeeded – he was out the 2022 season and they missed the playoffs and was hurt for the playoffs last year and L.A. lost in the 1st round.

Los Angeles was hot over the tail end of the season – but Dallas played even better. Dallas won 16 of 18 before resting players for the final two games once their seed was set.

The Luka DoncicKyrie Irving pairing didn’t result in the long playoff run Dallas had hoped last season – they didn’t even make the postseason. The duo has had a full year to build chemistry now and have combined to average nearly 60 ppg.

Why the Clippers Have Value at +3

Los Angeles was on when they needed to be, winning seven of eight games from March 27th to April 9th to clinch the #4 seed. L.A. did lose their last three regular season contests, but their seeding was already locked in at that point.

L.A. has struggled when Leonard has missed the postseason in recent years, but they also didn’t have James Harden then. Harden had a couple 20+ point games over his last four as well as a 13/10/15 triple double. Russell Westbrook could also be valuable off the bench, as he’s had some retro moments like a 16/15/15 triple double on April 9th at Phoenix.

Paul George played just over 8 total minutes in the last two games of the regular season, so he’s going to be well rested for the playoffs. George had 39 points and 11 rebounds vs Cleveland in one of his final tune-ups of the regular season so he’s still playing well even near the end of a long year.

Free Mavericks at Clippers Game 1 Betting Pick

Irving and Doncic are going to get theirs on Sunday, that’s nearly a given. The Clippers might actually be the deeper team though, and they should have a noticeable size advantage in the front court which isn’t great for a Mavericks team that had the fifth worst rebound % in the NBA.

Free Pick: Clippers +3

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